The Arrival of the Lamb



TEXT: Matthew 1:19-21

19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

The Arrival of the Lamb

Many names and titles are used to describe Jesus Christ throughout the Christmas season. he is our Lord, our Savior, our King. He is Immanuel, God With Us. In the traditional Christmas hymns, He is the newborn King, the everlasting Lord, the everlasting light, the incarnate Deity, the holy child of Bethlehem, and the offspring of the Virgin’s womb. What beautiful names; what beautiful titles. But, perhaps, the description of most consequence to us as sinful, humans is found in the hymn, “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.” The hymn says:

Mild He lays His glory by
born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth
born to give them second birth.

These few words give us not another name for Jesus, but a description of the effect of His actions on Earth. He laid aside His own rights and came to this earth to die for our sins, that those who trust in Him might not die in their sins, and have eternal life. He was born that we might be born again. As John the Baptist famously put it, He is the “lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world.”

Jesus Christ came because we could not save ourselves. The angel told Joseph, “thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.” Now, I doubt if Joseph was a theologian. Like a normal Jewish boy, he probably had been educated at the local synagogue every Saturday, but I doubt he possessed any deep spiritual understanding. He was probably baffled, worried, and a little bit afraid when he learned that the woman he was engaged to marry suddenly announced that she was pregnant and yet still a virgin. He probably got a little bit more afraid when angels started showing up to him in his dreams telling him what to do.

But, we know that this sudden activity of God was not really a surprise from God’s point of view. In Galatians 4:4-5, Paul writes, “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” God had been working out a plan to save His creation ever since the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. John Gill writes that the fulness of time simply means “the time agreed to and fixed upon between God and his Son from all eternity, in the council and covenant of peace, when the Son of God should assume human nature.” God the Father and God the Son had decided that now was the right time to enter the world wrapped in human flesh.

The angel told Joseph that Jesus “shall save his people from their sins.” Now, when Joseph heard this, he likely immediately thought of Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah who would deliver the Jews from their oppressors. But, this was not the kind of deliverance the angel was talking about. We learn from the Gospels that Jesus Christ was born to die for the sins of the whole world. He is the all-sufficient sacrifice — the lamb of God — who would take away the sins of the world once and for all.

As you know, in Old Testament times, the Jews were commanded to make animal sacrifices as a way to atone for their sins. When they made these sacrifices, they were to bring a lamb to the priest. The lamb that they brought had to be a pure creature — not deformed and without any blemishes. In establishing the Passover ritual in Exodus 12, God tells Moses, “In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house… the lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.”

Not only during the Passover, but at other times, when a man or woman sinned and brought a lamb to atone for his sins, the priest would not just take the lamb and kill it. He would first inspect it to see if it was truly without spot or blemish. During Passover, the lamb was kept inside the house for five days to ensure that it was perfect and without blemish or defect. If the lamb was slain, its blood was shed, and the man was forgiven of his sin. Or, in the case of the first Passover, the angel of death passed over the houses where the shed blood of the innocent lamb was painted on the doorposts.

A preacher-friend of mine went to a very small church in Spartanburg, South Carolina, recently just to be an encouragement and a blessing. However, he is the one who truly got blessed because the old country preacher was preaching a traditional Christmas, but then he said something in passing that he had never thought about or heard in over forty years of preaching. The old bi-vocational country preacher said, ‘The priest did not inspect the man who brought the lamb. He just inspected the lamb.’

The angel of death did not examine the people who killed the lamb and painted its blood over the doorposts. It was not about the people, it was about the lamb. If the lamb was perfect, the people’s sins were forgiven. If the lamb was perfect, the people were spared when the angel of death came through. They did not have to die, not because they were perfect, but because the lamb was perfect.

It is the same way with Jesus Christ today. He is the perfect, spotless Lamb of God who was born to “save His people from their sins.” When God sees a sinner asking for salvation, He does not look at the sinner; He does not examine the sinner. He looks at His Son — He looks at the Lamb who died on Calvary’s cross. He says, ‘My Son is perfect therefore I can save this sinner despite the bad things that He has done. Frank Santora writes that in the Old Testament, “it was a given that the man was imperfect — his forgiveness was dependent on the inspection of the lamb. If the priest viewed the lamb as perfect, the man was automatically forgiven, even though he was imperfect. That’s the same way it works today. When you and I come to God with our sin, God looks at the Lamb — his Son — and because Christ is perfect, we are forgiven.”

This is the great news of Christmas, dear friend. No matter who you are or what you have done, you can be saved if you look to the Lamb — Jesus Christ — yes, the child born in a manger two thousand years ago. If you are a liar, you can be saved, not because of who you are, but because of the Lamb.

If you are an adulterer, you can be saved, not because of who you are, but because of the Lamb. If you are a thief, you can be saved, not because of who you are, but because of the Lamb. If you are a murderer, you can be saved, not because of who you are, but because of the Lamb. If you are a homosexual, you can be saved, not because of who you are, but because of the Lamb. If you are a rapist, you can be saved, not because of who you are, but because of the Lamb. If you are a prostitute you can be saved, not because of who you are, but because of the Lamb. No matter what you have done, you can be saved because it is not about you — it is all about the Lamb who came to save His people from their sins.

Right now, I want to give you the opportunity to claim the Lamb as your means of salvation. That is what it is all about this Christmas and every Christmas. Today, you can receive the greatest gift imaginable — the forgiveness of your sins, and a home in Heaven with God forever. Here’s how:

1. Accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:20: “For there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Romans 3:23 reads: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” In fact, I am the chief of sinners, so don’t think that you’re alone.

2. Accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

3. Accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The Bible says in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

4. Accept the fact that you cannot do anything to save yourself! The Bible states in Ephesians 2: 8, 9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

5. Accept the fact that God loves you more than you love yourself, and that He wants to save you from hell. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

6. With these facts in mind, please repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and pray and ask Him to come into your heart and save you this very moment. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”


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